Global transport activity will more than double by 2050, and traffic emissions will rise by 16% compared to 2015 - even if existing commitments to decarbonise transport are fully implemented.
These are among the key findings of ITF Transport Outlook 2021, the biennial flagship report of the International Transport Forum, a sister organisation of the OECD.
Any currently expected emissions reductions are expected to be more than offset by the increased demand for transport.
The report suggests, however, that transport CO2 emissions can be cut by almost 70% over the 2015-50 period with the right policies.
“A reduction of this magnitude will bring the goal of the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5˚C into reach – but it will require the industry to put in place ambitious low-carbon policies now, to reinforce positive behavioural changes caused by the pandemic, and to gear stimulus packages towards decarbonisation.”
Based on 2015 figures, today:
- urban mobility generates 40% of all CO2 emissions from the movement of people,
- non-urban transport is responsible for the remaining 60%;
- 75% of all emissions from urban passenger transport come from private cars;
- freight emits more than 40% of all transport CO2; its share is growing slightly.
If current policies remain in place between now and 2050:
- passenger transport activity will increase 2.3-fold (measured in passenger-km);
- freight transport activity will grow 2.6-fold (measured in tonne-km);
- emissions from urban mobility will fall very slightly, by 5%;
- freight CO2 emissions will grow by 22%.
Under ambitious policies that also lock in CO2 reduction windfalls from Covid-19 freight emissions could be 72% less, the report predicts.